President Bush and Democrats seek compromise

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer meet in the Oval Office on November 9, 2006

United States President George W. Bush is to meet with Democratic congressional leaders today. The two sides will try to find a compromise on a US$124 billion supplemental appropriations bill that would provide funding for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yesterday, Bush vetoed the spending bill which called for a withdrawal from Iraq to begin this year. In his written veto statement, he said he did it because otherwise politicians could "micromanage the commanders in the field."

Bush said he considered the legislation unconstitutional because "it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the presidency by the Constitution, including as commander in chief of the armed forces."

"If the president thinks by vetoing this bill he'll stop us from working to change the direction of the war in Iraq, he is mistaken," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"There are a number of Republicans who do think that some kind of benchmarks, properly crafted, would actually be helpful," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives failed to override the veto. The vote came in at 222 to 203 (52.2% in favour of the override), well short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a presidential veto.